Building a Bar? Practical Steps to Find the Right Design

Bars and brewpubs are only gaining in popularity among Americans of all ages. Are you planning to start your own? Whether it’s a full bar or the base for your brewery’s tasting room, this space should be the focal point of your establishment. It should welcome your target pool of customers and provide an appealing experience for all.

But what should your bar actually look like? Figure out these few practicalities first for a successful design.

Look at the Neighborhood

Your bar should generally fit with the culture of the area around it to attract more local regulars. Is a university or college nearby? An industrial area? A historic neighborhood? A lot of single-family homes, rentals, or apartments? What other food and beverage businesses are nearby? What do they specialize in that could affect your customer pool? What attractions and night life could draw in potential customers?

All these questions help you create a bar that will attract pedestrians, other diners, and local drivers. If your area tends to serve trendy new foods like poke or vegan mixes behind hipster facades, you may want to upscale your look to appeal to that youthful and adventurous demographic, for instance.

If, on the other hand, it’s in an older and rural area, you may want to simplify the look and keep it traditional. The point is to match your customer pool.

Think About Your Goals

What do you want from this bar? Is it just a side business to help guests fill time before their meals? Is it to showcase your distillery’s spirits or your craft brews? Do you eventually want to expand to offer meals, or do you plan to keep business simple? Are you planning to add an outdoor dining area, fireplace, or games?

Your goals will help you design something that can grow with your business. You can avoid placing the bar, for instance, where the outdoor dining area entrance may be one day or squeezing it into where it can’t be expanded down the road. If you want to showcase your own brewing process, though, you can plan an extension that allows guests to see the brewmasters at work while they drink.

Make a Space Usage Plan

You’re likely constrained by the amount of available square footage as well as other logistical factors. This makes having a plan vital to getting what you want. Simply thinking that you’ll “put the bar over there and some tables over here” isn’t enough.

Start, instead, with a full checklist of all the furnishings and accessories you need to put into the facility – both big and small. Include potential space allotments for everything.

Most bars need a minimum of about 3 feet behind the bar and a couple of feet per stool. Leave a minimum of 24 inches between tables – and more if you’ll have servers moving between them. Once you have a full list with space requirements, you’re in a better position to start planning out your layout on paper.

Keep It Efficient

Once you open, you and your staff will (hopefully) be constantly on the move. So you need a layout and designs that are heavy on efficiency.

Ensure plenty of space for two people to work comfortably behind a big bar, for instance. Also, make the ice bin easily accessible at a comfortable height. And store the most-used spirits together so that staff members don’t move all over the bar just to mix a Manhattan.

Ask yourself the following questions: Can servers easily come and go from the outdoor area? Can they navigate easily between tables? Can everything be easily and thoroughly cleaned?

Consider doing a little role-playing to test out your layout – have friends, staff, and family members play the parts of bartenders, servers, and patrons during busy times.

Need more help finding the right layout and design? Start by consulting with the commercial construction and renovation experts at Contract Remodeling Services today. We can help from the planning stages to the execution of your amazing, new bar.

Need more help finding what you're looking for?
Do you have a special home project in mind?
Call for a FREE Consultation